Love, honour, protect

Cheshire Life|April 2020

Love, honour, protect
Caring for our wildlife means more than hanging out birdfeeders, says Emma Raine from Cheshire Wildlife Trust

I enjoy working alongside like-minded people who have the same love and respect for wildlife and the natural world as I have. I find it hard to understand why anyone would seek to damage or illegally profit from our natural surroundings. But sadly this is all too often the case, so I met with Sergeant Rob Simpson, who works within the Rural Crime team at Cheshire Police, to discuss wildlife crime, which was both interesting and saddening.

When I hear the words rural crime my first thoughts are poaching, theft and hunting with dogs, but the first thing I learned was how broad the term actually is. Crimes are divided into four specific groups: agricultural, equine, wildlife and heritage.

Agricultural crime covers working farms, farm machinery, farm buildings and smallholdings. Offences include theft of equipment or fuel, damage to property, and livestock worrying. Equine crime covers working stables and equestrian centres and includes offences such as tack theft and livestock worrying. Heritage crime is defined as ‘any offence which harms the value of England’s heritage assets and their settings to this and future generations’. That can include lead theft from churches, damage to ancient monuments and illegal metal detecting.

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April 2020